Gene Colan, Blade co-creator alongside writer Marv Wolfman, passed away on June 23 at the age of 85. Colan had been struggling with liver failure since 2006 and moved into a rehab facility in April 2011 to live out his final days.
The comic legend is most well-known for his work at Marvel, which included landmark runs on Daredevil and Dr. Strange, as well as the ground-breaking series Howard the Duck and Tomb of Dracula. It was on Tomb of Dracula that Colan co-created his most enduring character, the vampire hunter Blade. Blade is considered by many to be the first touchstone in Marvel’s current slate of box office blockbusters, going on to inspire two sequels, as well as appearances in video games and a television series. Despite Blade’s box office success, Marv Wolfman unsuccessfully sued Marvel for monies owed as a co-creator, but managed to get an onscreen credit for himself and Colan for the film.
Colan penciled a variety of popular characters for various companies over the years, including runs on Batman, Predator, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Elvira, Captain America, and many others. He was inducted into the WIll Eisner Comics Hall of Fame in 2005.